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Hebben or zijn?
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Tradott mill-Ingliz minn ...

In the perfect tense, most past participles are preceded by a conjugation of hebben?. There are, however, a few verbs that exclusively take zijn? as an auxiliary verb.

Past participles that take zijn:

  • All past participles of link verbs?, with the exception of transitive link verbs?.
  • Past participles that indicate movement, a development or a change. Examples are beginnen (to begin), sterven (to die), and krimpen (to shrink).

Past participles that take both zijn and hebben

A number of past participles can take both hebben and zijn. In general, the past participle that uses zijn refers to a movement. If the same past participle uses hebben, it indicates a static situation, in which we may be engaged in the activity of jumping or running, but not from point A to point B.

Ik heb op straat gelopen. I have walked in the street.
Ik heb op hoge hakken gelopen. I have walked on high heels.
Ik ben naar huis gelopen. I have walked home.
Ik ben naar binnen gelopen I have walked inside.
Ik heb in de Alpen geklommen. I have climbed in the Alps.
Ik heb veel geklommen. I have climbed a lot.
Ik ben op het dak geklommen. I climbed on the roof.
Ik ben naar de top geklommen. I climbed to the top.
Ik heb in de rivier gesprongen. I jumped (while standing) in the river.
Ik heb op mijn fiets gesprongen. I jumped (while sitting on) my bike.
Ik ben in de rivier gesprongen. I jumped in the river (from the river bank).
ik ben op mijn fiets gesprongen. I jumped (got) on my bike.
Ik heb de hele dag in die auto gereden. I have driven in that car all day.
Ik ben met die auto naar Antwerpen gereden. I have driven to Antwerp with that car.

Verbs like vallen (to fall) and zinken (to sink) only take zijn. You may wonder what the difference is with, for example, klimmen (to climb) in the example above?

You could argue that you can fall from a riverbank into the river (movement from point A to B -> zijn), but you can also say that you fell (no direction specified --> hebben). Indeed, a difficult case. The subtle distinction that I see is that vallen and zinken are not activities, but events that happen to the agent. Seeing it this way, you could say that a person's state changed from not-fallen to fallen or from not-sunk to sunk. And as mentioned above, we also use zijn for past participles that indicate a certain change. Admittedly, the distinction between zijn and hebben past participles is sometimes a bit vague.

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L-ahhar aggornament May 03, 2007 ::